So it has been a week since I “finished” NaNoWriMo. I put finished in quotes because although I hit the 50,000 word count, my actual story is far from finished.
I admit I haven’t touched my novel all week. According to my computer, the last time I opened the file was 9:21 PM on November 30. It has been pretty nice taking a good, long break, but I know that soon I need to dive back in there and continue writing. I left my characters in a very unresolved state.
Most of the advice I read about doing NaNoWriMo talked about completing your story, even though 50,000 words is shorter than a typical novel. They suggested skipping over or summarizing scenes towards the end if you have to so that you could bring events to a close and type “The End” on November 30. The theory is that it is easier to go back and fill in scenes and details than to keep going with brand new chapters at the end of the story.
Well, I didn’t manage to do it that way. I did skip way ahead at one point when I got very frustrated with my progress, so at some point I do need to go back and fill in some events that take place over several months so that there is some sort of transition. But I wasn’t able to jump all the way to the conclusion of the story because I didn’t know how the story was going to end.
I guess this is what happens sometimes when you jump in with just vague ideas and characters and no real specific plot. I was discovering much of my story as I went.
Towards the last few days, I did finally feel like things were happening and heading in an interesting direction. I remember one evening, just few days before November 30. Renee was getting a haircut and I sat in a little chair waiting for her, jotting down some thoughts and notes in a notebook. I found myself remembering a very long time ago when I flew from Chicago (where I lived at the time) to Sarasota, FL on a business trip. Usually I flew on Delta through Atlanta, but for some reason this particular flight went through Orlando.
Now Orlando is not all that far from Sarasota. So I remember thinking that this seemed almost a little bit silly. The plane took off from Orlando, climbed to cruising altitude, and then immediately started to descend into Sarasota. In my memory, that flight was only about 20 minutes from takeoff to landing. It was a long time ago, but that is the way I remember it.
I had the same sort of feeling during NaNoWriMo. I got started (takeoff) and floundered about, trying to figure out where to go with my story. I started setting things up and introducing characters and subplots. Then, before I really felt like things were in good shape, all of a sudden I’m running out of time and rapidly approaching the 50,000 mark. Once I hit cruising altitude, it was already time to head back down and wrap things up.
I guess the point of all this rambling is that I didn’t really wrap things up. I need to get back to writing and try to finish the story…and then decide if there is enough good stuff in there to be worth revising and rewriting.
When am I going to get back to working on this? I’m really not sure…at the moment I’m still enjoying my break. It is nice to not have to worry about when I’m going to fit in 1700 words every day. Plus I have other projects, like finishing my videos from our Utah trip last spring. This is the movie trailer I made many months ago:
We spent the week hiking and exploring many canyons in Utah, and I shot a lot of video. I’ve started setting this footage to music to represent each major hike, but I’ve only managed to finish a few of them. Seems like working on videos from the sunny desert in springtime is a great project now that it is cold and gray winter here in Missoula!
I also want to get back to more frequent blogging. There are a couple recent house projects Renee worked on that definitely need to be written about! And more pictures of muddy poodles.
But I haven’t forgotten my novel or given up on it. In fact, the other day while out walking Darwin I thought of some significant new plot elements that should happen in the story. I may have taken a word-count break, but my novel is still on my mind.